Beehealth and sustainable beekeeping

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Full report here

(BeeScanning had the opportunity to present to the focus group in may 2019 at Ultuna. Beescanning is mentioned in two instances in the report. page 11 and in the mini paper page 5.)

Executive summary

In the course of 2019, the EIP-AGRI Focus Group (FG) on ”Bee health and sustainable beekeeping” explored and provided a state of play for different key factors that are important to honeybee health. The group of experts discussed the main drivers for change from today’s situation to a sustainable future. Their goal was to answer the overarching question: How to ensure the sustainability of beekeeping in the face of challenges linked to pests and diseases, intensification of agriculture, and climate change?

Through a discussion about challenges, opportunities, and good practices and solutions that are available, the Focus Group has identified a set of priorities and ways forward.

Key factors to keep bee colonies healthy (priorities):

Availability of knowledge and skills (research and practice) Maintaining a sustainable environment around the honeybee colony Determination and evaluation of the health status of honeybees Resilience of honeybees and improvement of their well-being Interpretation of data from monitoring, precision beekeeping (PB) Management methods adapted to local conditions
Supporting honeybee genetic diversity
Sublethal effects of chemicals in an environment of multiple stressors

Ways forward (solutions to the problems)

Despite the many innovations and advances of recent years, also in the fields of some of these key factors, further work is still needed to fulfil all these priorities. To address the key factors mentioned above, the Focus Group recommended to:

Create a European platform to better connect research and practice (Research need from practice – RN) Develop a kind of licence for beekeepers, a pan-European standard
Develop and implement a practical index synthetising the health status of bees (RN)
Develop and evaluate technical methods for controlling Varroa, for sustainable beekeeping (e.g. trapping mites in workers or drone brood, queen caging and artificial swarms) (RN)

Interpretating and sharing collected data from monitoring, both biotic- and abiotic factors
Assess the exposure to stressors from agriculture in combination with resource quality (RN)
Identify, implement and communicate mitigation practices among beekeepers and farmers (RN)
Manage complexity through collaboration among relevant stakeholders
Mapping the landscape situation around the apiary for sustainability (make monitoring results available in maps)
Highlight the importance of genetic diversity for sustainable beekeeping, and develop programmes for local breeding (RN)

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